Written by Matt Kindt
Art by Doug Braithwaite
Colors by Brian Reber
Well, Unity is here. Since its announcement late in the summer, there has been a lot hype surrounding Valiant’s newest series. Valiant has made a lot of promises for the series, and that puts a lot of pressure on the book to be exceptional. Fortunately, Valiant was able to procure Matt Kindt as writer, and he has been doing some exceptional work all around the industry this past year, and it continues with this first issue of Unity.
This is being hailed as Valiant’s first “super team book,” and I think it is important to point out the lack of the word “hero” from that description. We are shown the motives and reasoning behind the different sides’ actions and stances, but it is unclear who the heroes of the story are, if there even are any. Kindt is working with a team that consists of the protagonist of one series, the antagonist of another and a mercenary, but they are all teaming up against the protagonist of yet another title. Each in their own right has down things that could be considered noble, yet with some questionable means perhaps not everyone’s actions are entirely heroic.
This enormous grey area that Valiant has provided Matt Kindt to work in is what draws my intrigue and interest in Unity. It’s not yet entirely clear where Kindt will take us, but in this opening issue he does a damn fine job of letting us know who each of these characters is. The carefully constructed dialog and narration gives us an incredibly insightful look into the psyche and personality of these characters. It is often said that successful stories show rather than tell, and Kindt does that brilliantly with the help of Braithwaite.
The art in Unity #1 also excels at drawing the reader into the world of Valiant. The detail in the goings on at Harada’s Harbinger Foundation, Ninjak’s tools and resources, and the abilities of the X-O armor show us just what kind of threat these characters can be to each other without even reading a single word balloon. There is an intensity that Braithwaite brings to each of the characters, and it can be seen in their eyes, the furrowing of brows, and sneers and snarls on their faces. I’m a reader of X-O Manowar and I’ve felt sympathetic towards Aric and his misunderstanding of the modern world as he strives to find a home for his people. However, I will be damned if Braithwaite didn’t just show us a damn terrifying look at the man.
Between the art and the writing, Kindt and Braithwaite are definitely delivering on Valiant’s promise that this book will shake up the status quo in their universe. I’m already questioning some of my preconceived notions of these characters, and I am highly anticipating the next issue.
Buy It. Unity #1 is a beautiful book that will take you away from traditional superhero tropes, and introduces a world with more morally ambiguous characters, where the lines between hero and villain can be blurred. This is definitely one of Valiant’s finest first issues to date.